Conspirator @ Chameleon Club – February 2
Words and Photos: Matthew Hebert
Hot on the heels of dropping their latest EP, Unleashed, Conspirator has hit the road on an ambitious coast-to-coast tour that will have dance floors shaking with their signature brand of live electronic adrenaline. Toss in a couple stops at the AURA and Euphoria music festivals, as well as a just announced UMass arena show with Rusko, and you might start to question how long you can really keep calling Conspirator a “Disco Biscuits side project.”
[All Photos By Matthew Hebert]
If you are on tour promoting an album named Unleashed that has an enraged gorilla on the cover, you better come out swinging hard. And despite kicking off their tour only a few days prior, that’s exactly what they did when they arrived in Lancaster, Pennslyvania. Opening with Tumblr, a dirty groove with heavy Chris Michetti-driven guitar riiffs and a song typically saved to close out the night, was a statement that Conspirator is focused on pushing their power-soaked dance tracks to new peaks. In addition to Tumblr, every track from Unleashed found its way into the setlist on this night and received the proper live treatment with “classic” tracks to fill out the set. Those familiar with Conspirator’s relatively small but growing live catalog know that many tracks from Unleashed been in the group’s live rotation for some time.
Each band member seems very comfortable in their respective roles within Conspirator. Chris Michetti (RAQ) continues to seamlessly fuse over-driven guitar licks and soaring melodies to the heavy bass grooves laid down by Marc Brownstein (Disco Biscuits). This interplay is showcased on tracks like Pow Wow. However in my opinion, it is drummer, KJ Sawka (Pendulum), and keyboardist Aron Magner that make up the core sound of Conspirator.
Sawka’s relentless drum tracks provide a driving, hypnotic base upon which Aron Magner adds rhythmic texture and electronic flourishes. The sum of all the parts can take on different incarnations, from filthy dance hall dub tracks to polished trance beats, but they all share a common theme of heavy electronica infused with dubstep elements. Those in the EDM scene will no doubt be delighted by Conspirator’s current trajectory, while those hoping for a glimpse of the Disco Biscuits may just have to wait for Camp Bisco.
While the meat of the Lancaster set was was rooted in dark, dirty grooves with crescendos of melodic relief, there were plenty of straight high energy dance tracks played as well. I fully enjoyed Proper Education, an irresistibly dance-able spin on the Pink Floyd classic Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2. After listening to Unleashed and attending the Lancaster show, it’s apparent Conspirator is locked in and loving every minute of it. The always affable Marc Brownstein took a moment to give a Central PA shout out: “Horses and buggies and shoo fly pies! It’s awesome here!”
I feel the same way, guys. Thanks for coming!
Set: Tumblr, So Much More, The Commish > Park Ave., Commercial Amen, HeartBeat > Proper Education, Right/Wrong, Struts, Liquid Sawyer, Accent, Pow Wow > Hammer Down > Feed the Wolf
Encore: Oname Wa